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Thursday 24 April 2014

Baking for Beginners: Black Forest Gateaux Cookies

Readers, cast your time back to this time last year, when Marks and Spencer brought out their greatest product to date: black forest gateaux cookies. Now despair that they no longer do them - those idiots! They had gold in their hands, and they threw it out like rubbish. They were soft, delicious pieces of joy, full of chocolate and cherries. If you wanted to taste heaven, you could warm them up. AND THEY DISCONTINUED THEM. My mum still insists on checking the biscuit aisle every time we visit M&S together, and her heart is broken afresh each trip.

So to cheer her up, I have baked some of my own. Rich with cherries, dark chocolate and a drop of kirsch, they're good for teatime and as a post-dinner pudding, warmed up with some ice cream on the side. And they are so quick to make, especially if you skip the soaking and just buy Sainsbury's Morello cherries in kirsch (find them in the baking aisle), although there is a strong risk you will eat them all when you open the bag.

Black Forest Gateaux Cookies (makes 24)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes 

You will need:
  • 100g dried cherries
  • 50ml kirsch
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 170g light brown soft sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tsp almond essence
  • 220g self-raising flour
  • 100g dark chocolate chips
Make it!
  1. Start by soaking the cherries in kirsch for at least an hour. If you don't have kirsch, search your cupboards for a novelty liqueur you brought back from holiday with a picture of cherries on the front: observe the Portuguese ginja I used.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in the egg, vanilla essence and almond essence.
  3. Sift in the flour and gradually fold it in along with the cherries, chocolate and up to 1 tbsp of the kirsch. You can save the leftover kirsch HA HA HA only joking, obviously you've drunk it by now. Cook's privilege.
  4. If you can bear it, chill the dough for two hours as the cookie texture will be better. Otherwise, just crack on and preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. 
  5. Line two trays with baking parchment (don't worry if you've only got one, just cook them in two batches). Dollop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto the tray, evenly spaced as they will spread.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cookies are firm and browning at the edges, and the middles are soft and puffy. Leave to cook on the tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.


  1. Ah, ginja ... that's brought back fond memories of a trip to Lisbon.

  2. I fondly remember the one day of my life in 2013 when Frances and I discovered M&S courgette fries. THEN THEY STOPPED DOING THEM. They were so tasty. I still look every time I go in, to no avail.

    1. Oh they really were. From this I think we've learnt that M&S is basically full of sad people shuffling around the aisles looking for foodstuffs they once loved that have now been discontinued.

    2. I've just realised it was actually 2012. We should probably get over it.

    3. What is wrong with them? They discontinue the best things, and keep things like plain biscuits and potato fries which I can buy anywhere. I go to M&S for the fancy things.

  3. I actually do fell that Black Forest is due a comeback. But then, Sara Lee does such a fine job in making it that I've never been tempted to have a bash myself. Sometimes Sian goes to Iceland.

  4. My god these sound good. Is there anything better than chocolate, cherries and booze???

    FoodNerd x

    1. I have checked the Big Book Of Best Things and these are right there on page 1. NOTHING IS BETTER.

  5. Oh, you gorgeous Domestic Sluts. When I'm obese and have heart disease, I'm sending you the bill.


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